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The Women’s ADHD Palooza is BACK! Top ADHD Experts Online Starting Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. Don’t Miss It!

Posted on February 22, 2019

The ADHD Women’s Palooza is baaaaack and it’s starting this Monday, Feb. 25 and running the entire week.Stop right now and sign up HERE!
 
My colleague and co-founder of the Palooza, Linda Roggli, is taking on the Palooza solo this year with this ground-breaking online event, and you are invited! The top ADHD Experts are here to share their knowledge with you:
 
Dr. Ned Hallowell, Sari Solden, Dr. Thomas E. Brown, Dr. Stephanie Sarkis, Jessica McCabe and many more…including me! I’ll be presenting on:
 
Why Is My ADHD Getting Worse As I Get Older?
 
… on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 5pm EST.
 
A few of the topics covered this year:
  •  Adjusting to Your ADHD Diagnosis – Mourn the Past, Create the Future
  • How Brain Function Becomes The New Diagnostic Criteria- Radical Approach to Treating ADHD Women
  • Understanding and Clearing Energetic Blocks in Women with ADHD
  • Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria — Are You Really Too Sensitive??
  • ADHD Dysgraphia – My Handwriting Sucks!
  • Identifying Workflows In Your Digital Life
  • Executive Function in the Home: What to Do When the Whole Family Is Struggling
  •  Intimacy for ADHD Women
  • …and much more!
 
It will be an extraordinary week of insight and answers exclusively for women with ADHD, presented by 31 ADHD Legends and Luminaries.
 
Find out more and SIGN UP HERE!   (it’s free to attend)!
Or simply go to https://bit.ly/2E198OP
 


You’re Not Disorganized! You’re Spontaneous! Re-framing your ADHD Symptoms in Positive Ways

Posted on February 18, 2019

 

Years ago when I was first learning about ADHD, I was struck by something Dr. Ned Hallowell said at one of the first ADHD conferences I ever attended (ADDA: www.ADD.org). He said:

Creativity is Impulsivity Gone Right.

Isn’t that a great re-frame for those of us side-swiped by impulsivity?

And what about distractibility? Couldn’t that also be called curiosity?

Hyperactivity- couldn’t that mean being an innate explorer? Or simply high energy?

Head strong types who have a hard time transitioning: maybe these are independent thinkers?

Messy? Many creative types have ideas spilling out all over. Managing mundane daily tasks can be excruciating. Being bored is painful. Impatient types can’t slow down because their mind is on the next experience.

Why do we call ADHD symptoms negative traits? Sure, they can get in the way. Big time. But maybe it’s also time to think of our traits as positive, too.

Dr. Hallowell has a chart in his book,Superparenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child”, where he compares negative ADHD traits with mirror positive counterparts. Here are a few:

Distractible = Curious

Impulsive = Creative

Hyperactive, restless = Energetic

Intrusive = Eager

Can’t Stay on Point = Sees Connections Others Don’t

Disorganized = Spontaneous

Moody = Sensitive


I love this. But that doesn’t mean that by seeing all these traits as (potentially) positive means we don’t struggle- we do. But this is a great way to view ADHD as not just a deficit, but as a collection of traits that can work for you if you learn to harness them in.

What other ADHD symptoms can you spin into positive traits? Share your thoughts in my Comment section, below.

 

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Today I …Tried a Chick-fil-A Sandwich.

Posted on February 06, 2019

 

Today I …tried a Chick-fil-A sandwich for the first time.

This is about the extent of how I live dangerously. I’ve been extremely curious about the long slow lines of people waiting three- deep in the food court of my local mall ever since they opened this place over a year ago.

Normally I get a salad or Chinese food while shopping here, but today was the day to push myself out of my safety zone. Being a Chick-fil-A virgin (I was even pronouncing it wrong: Chick-A-Fill), I asked the girl at the cash register which sandwich was the most popular. I mean, I’m brave, but not that brave- I wanted to know what these folks were standing in line 20 minutes for and surely it wasn’t for the measly little fruit cup.

She pointed out the top three favorites, so I chose the first- the basic chicken sandwich. I sat down, dug into the fried chicken, pickles, bun and some weird sauce and was immediately struck by the saltiness. I asked myself- THIS is what is drawing so much attention?

I was mildly disappointed, because I could’ve had my favorite: chicken and green beans stir fry.

Many people, after years of struggling with distractibility, disorganization, impulsivity, and all the rest of the ingredients found in adult ADHD, finally push themselves into their discomfort zone- they find the courage to get themselves evaluated for possible ADHD, then once diagnosed, walk away either relieved, depressed, or even angry. Maybe it’s not what they’d expected. Or maybe it was, and the truth is painful to swallow, at least initially. They had hoped that taking that first pill would miraculously shed them from all their ADHD pain.

It’s simply not that easy.

It can take years to get to the point of acceptance, learn new coping strategies and see yourself in a new light, as someone who has struggled for years with an ADHD brain.

But you’ll never know for sure until you’ve taken the leap by courageously consulting with an ADHD expert to see if this, indeed, is what has been causing you years of strife.

If you’re reading this and haven’t yet gone for an ADHD evaluation but suspect you have it ADHD, I understand how scary it can be. Take that first step; gather names of mental health professionals savvy in diagnosing/treating ADHD and call them. Just call and ask questions. Then maybe you’ll step into that line, too, and explore something new that can change your life.

Just don’t stop for a Chick-fil-A lunch after your appointment.

Tell me your story. What brought you to the point of finally going for an evaluation? How did you feel afterward? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section, below.

 

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You Aren’t Alone! My Answers to Your ADHD Questions

Posted on January 22, 2019

 

I promised that this post would be different from my previous ones- that it would be an opportunity for you, my readers, to submit your ADHD related questions to me and I would answer them. So let’s get this thing started now! And if you find it helpful, we’ll do it again next time!

Skip below for info on how YOU can submit your question to me (after today’s Q/A).

ASK ME ANYTHING ABOUT ADHD!

Nicole from Cleveland, Ohio writes:

My pattern is working on a project (s) and taking on a lot and then seem to get overwhelmed, withdrawn and paralyzed for months. Shame, regret and sadness go along with it. Is this a part of ADHD?

My response:

Yes, yes, yes, and……yes.

There’s two parts to your question. First, it’s very common for those of us with ADHD to bite off more than we can chew. There’s a lot of reasons for that:

  1. Impulsivity can cause us to jump in without thinking of the consequences.
  2. We crave stimulation, and that moving object (project) seems sooo enticing. So we say to ourselves that we can do it- no problem. But then it does become a problem because we either don’t have enough time, skills or we lose interest.

Secondly, the consequences can be just as you describe: a feeling of overwhelm, withdrawing or giving up and feeling paralyzed.

…..and that can lead to feelings of shame, regret, and sadness. We often feel like failures because of unfinished projects. We may feel like we’ve let other people down, including ourselves. And we may even tell ourselves: “I did it again- I failed. I’m such a loser.”

There are ways to avoid getting into this whirlwind of action and then defeat. One way is to write down what that project is. If it’s something someone is asking you to do, do NOT, do NOT automatically say yes. Say you’ll think about it and get back to them. Either way, sit down with a pad of paper and write out the project. Step by step.

But first, ask yourself: is this something you really want to do? Do you have time to take it on? Then break it down like this, or a way that works best for you:

  1. When I would start this
  2. When I need to finish this
  3. Do I have the materials needed? (list them). If not, where do I need to get them? (Answer this).
  4. Can I take this on myself or do I need help? Who do I ask?
  5. Write down each step needed to complete the project and add how much time you’ll need per step. People with ADHD often underestimate the time needed, so really think about this carefully.
  6. Then use your planner and write down specifically what you need to do, what day, what time (have a start *and* an end date/time).

Now…if you find that you are still not finishing the project, jot down what is getting in your way.

Make this a learning experience instead of a failure. And when you succeed, celebrate!

Hope this helps!

-Terry


Megan from Dallas, TX writes:

I’m in my 30s and I was diagnosed with ADD long ago but only recently began seeking treatment. Here’s my question:

I’d like to develop better habits to help me manage my ADD. My therapist and I have been discussing the benefit of taking some time out (a retreat) just for me: what I’ve been calling a “metreat”. Ideally, I’d spend a few days away to reflect on everything that overwhelms me, cross out the stuff that I can’t do anything about, prioritize the things I can work on, and then come up with an action plan.

Is there a workbook available that can help guide me through this process?

Thanks!

My response:

I love this idea, Megan!

I’m not aware of a workbook that’s specific to your needs (makes me want to develop one, though!), but a few thoughts:

You could easily make one yourself. You’ve already written it, actually- you just need to buy a notebook and write in it! It could look something like this:

  1. Things That Overwhelm Me

     (Cross out the things I cannot change) 

  1. Things I Want to Work On


Examples:

A. Personal

B. Family

C. Work

D. Etc.

  1. What I Need to Do to Make It Work

Examples:

  1. Join a gym, have lunch each week with a friend, cut back on sweets.
  2. Call mom every Sunday, take kids on more educational outings, take daily walk with hubby/partner to re-connect.
  3. Get to work on time, tidy up desk daily before leaving, offer more input at weekly meetings.

Now, I did find a workbook on Amazon and though it’s not exactly what you’re looking for, it looks pretty close!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Project Planner

 

Hope this helps!

-Terry

 

And that wraps up this issue! If you’d like to submit a brief question relating to ADHD (and please make it one that will be helpful to my readers):

  1. Email it to me at terrymatlen@ADDconsults.com.
  2. If you can, please use this in your subject line: Question for Terry
  3. Tell me what first name you’d like to use (you can use a pseudonym)
  4. Tell me what city/state/country you live in.
  5. Feel free to send a photo of yourself (OPTIONAL).

** NOTE: Only those who send me your name/location will be considered for publication.


–> By emailing your question, you give me permission to print it in an upcoming newsletter and blog (my blog is on my website at www.ADDconsults.com).

and if you do not yet receive my newsletters, please sign up now HERE.

 

 

 


Forget Productivity. Did You Do Something Meaningful Today?

Posted on January 20, 2019


FREE! Ask Me Anything about ADHD!

Posted on January 09, 2019

 

Welcome to 2019! I hope you all got through the holidays with more joy than pain.

In my last newsletter/blog post, I talked about my own Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions and I’d love to hear what your thoughts are about resolutions and how ADHD fits- or doesn’t fit- into all of this. After all, we’re known to have a tough time with transitions and changes. If you didn’t read my piece, I hope you will. Hint: it’s HUMOR.

Today, I’m doing something different. Instead of blabbing about myself, I want to hear from YOU. I get tons of emails from people asking me just about anything having to do with their challenges dealing with ADHD. Below are a few that have come in that might resonate with you. But….for my NEXT newsletter issue and blog post, I’m inviting you to email me with YOUR question. The only caveat is that by doing so, you give me permission to use it (and my response, which I’ll email back to you) in an upcoming newsletter and blog post. Just tell me if you’d like to use a pseudonym.

This is what you need to do:

  1. Email your (BRIEF) question (and please make it one that you think will be helpful to my readers) to me at terrymatlen@ADDconsults.com. If you can, please use this in your subject line—>  QUESTION FOR TERRY
  2. Tell me what first name you’d like to use, if not your own.
  1. Tell me what city/state/country you live in.
  1. Feel free to send a photo of yourself (OPTIONAL).

I will answer a few of the questions I receive, email my responses to you, and will post them in my next newsletter and blog.

PLEASE remember: my newsletter goes out to over 12,000 subscribers who often send it to friends, therapists, etc. I also post the newsletter here on my blog and on social media. So….think carefully about your question and if you want to use your real name or not.

Watch for my next newsletter/blog post! Wait, you don’t subscribe? Well sign up NOW (and get a free mini eBook on Tips for Women with ADHD). Maybe you will be in it! In the meantime, check below for a few questions that have already come in. And bookmark this page so you can read all of my blogs!

*Note: Those who respond will be signed up for my free newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time. *

 

ASK ME ANYTHING ABOUT ADHD!

 

Heather, from Spokane, WA asks:

Dear Terry,

I am reaching menopause age (I’m 42) and notice that my memory is getting worse. In particular, word retrieval. Am I developing dementia? Please help!

Terry’s response:

Hi Heather,

This is a common concern for women with ADHD who are approaching menopause. I hear from attorneys, doctors, professors, stay at home moms, retirees, factory workers, teachers, and more…who are terrified that they are looking at possible Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia. Suddenly, words escape them. They can’t remember names. Finding the right word becomes a real challenge, and they end up describing the noun they are looking for.

It’s scary!

But fear not. For the great majority of women with ADHD in this age range (and older), cognitive function often changes, just as it does for many women *without* ADHD. But since we’re already struggling with certain brain functioning, we may notice it more or have a rougher time with memory than others.

What’s happening is, as our hormones change with age, there’s often a direct hit to our brain functioning.

Why?

Because of the drop in estrogen levels. When that happens, our brain just doesn’t function as well.

That does not mean you are developing dementia, though if you are super concerned or if you’re struggling terribly, it is best to consult with your health care provider.

What experts in this area suggest (read the work of Dr. Patricia Quinn) is to talk to your OB/GYN to see if hormone therapy might be helpful. Doctors assume that increasing one’s stimulant will do the trick, but that isn’t always the case.

Also, try to simplify your life. When there’s too much going on, too much stress, too many responsibilities, it makes (obviously) your brain work harder. So now is the time to consider making some changes in your life.

Hope this helps!

– Terry

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Cindy, from Cleveland, OH asks:

Dear Terry,

I have anxiety along with my ADHD. My doctor wants to put me on medication, but what should I take? Meds for both?

Hi Cindy,

Though I am not a medical doctor, I have heard from medical professionals that usually (but not always), the symptoms that are most problematic are targeted first. So if your anxiety, say, is keeping you away from social events or affecting your work, etc., your doctor may want to start you on a med for anxiety. However, many with ADHD are anxious *because* of their untreated ADHD. So your doctor may elect to treat the underlying ADHD first. Sometimes, the anxiety lifts, but in many cases, meds for both conditions will be needed.

Hope this helps!

-Terry

 

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Something New!

Posted on December 26, 2018


Stocking Stuffer Ideas for your ADHD Family

Posted on December 15, 2018

Here are some great stocking stuffer gift items for the ADHD person in your life (including yourself!). These are all on Amazon and many are on sale! Can’t see them? Please turn off your ad blocker then re-fresh the page. 🙂


 











One Simple Way to Make the Holidays Work for You and Your ADHD

Posted on December 11, 2018

 

Less than two weeks until Christmas. Let me guess:

  • You’re freaking out because you haven’t purchased all your gifts, yet.
  • You’re having houseguests and your house isn’t ready. In other words, you have boxes, socks, books, papers piled up. Everywhere.
  • Your Christmas cards haven’t been addressed or stamped. Or purchased.
  • You caught a cold and are now way behind, in general.
  • You could slap yourself in the face for offering your home for the big dinner.
  • You’re not talking to half of your family and your stomach is already churning, thinking about seeing them at the dinner table.

Having ADHD means that “normal”- whatever that means- activities that others seem to enjoy, basically… FREAK YOU OUT. What we often don’t remember is that even GOOD things can cause a lot of stress. Like holidays. Family gatherings. Cooking. Buying gifts.

Did you know that you have choices? Did you know that you aren’t forced to do the things you THINK you should be doing? Did you know that you can make your own rules?

I’m keeping this short because I hope to keep your attention long enough to make yourselves a promise: what can you do differently this year that will help you manage your stress levels better?

Write your idea(s) in the comment section below.

Let’s see if you can come up with one thing you can do differently from years before. Have fun with this, because if you do, you’ll have fun during the holidays, too. Extra points for your creative ideas!

 

 


ADHD Food Rejection Dysphoria

Posted on November 28, 2018

 

‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

So in that delicious quiet surrounding me– no distractions, no worries- I decided to surprise my family by making something special: a spinach lasagna, using a Rachel Ray recipe, for dinner the next night.

Those of you who have followed my blogs and other writings all these years might remember that when my kids were little, every night was a tailspin into desperation: what should I make for dinner?  And worse: what can I make that everyone will eat?

Neither of my two kids liked the same foods. One loved pasta with meat sauce; the other would gag from it. I’d have to have plain with butter for her. One loved chicken casserole; the other despised fowl and deemed it properly named. On and on it went for many years until I threw in the towel and gave them a choice: they eat what I make or they cook their own meals. It worked. My oldest started cooking at age 11 because she got bored of the cold cereal option on the rotating nights of meals she found disgusting.

Fast forward to last week’s Thanksgiving dinner. Wait, no…the night before, when even the mice weren’t stirring. I started assembling the lasagna at 9pm, following the recipe word for word. Easy enough, right? You basically have the spinach and cheese filling, tomato sauce and various kinds of cheeses, plus the noodles. Good ol’ Rachel favors oven ready noodles for this particular recipe, so I felt certain that this would be the easiest lasagna ever (I’ve been experimenting for 3 years, looking for an easy vegetarian lasagna that didn’t taste like ketchup on latex.

Well, this recipe put me straight over the edge. My math skills are less than stellar so when I read that I had to add ½ of the 1.5 cups of mozzarella cheese, I had to pull out my calculator to get it right. I still didn’t get it right. Then again, ½ of 2.5 of…something and again, it threw me off.

Two things never fail when I attempt lasagna:

  1. I can’t figure out what order to layer the ingredients and always end up with the wrong thing on top and
  2. I *always* forget an ingredient.

Both of these things happened that night. An entire container of cheese laughed at me on the counter after I’d placed the casserole dish into the oven (can you believe I remembered to pre-heat it? Bravo, Terry!). And of course, the ingredients were not in the right order. But who would know besides me?

I also realized I’d run out of aluminum foil, so I was sure the edges would burn. Thankfully, they didn’t. Because I think I undercooked the darn thing.

Finally, the time came to serve my hungry family this Thanksgiving treat (we had turkey earlier in the day, but that’s another story).

The lasagna looked great! I had some simple sides to go with it, minus the garlic bread I had forgotten to buy. I set the dish down on the table where the hungry family wasted not a second to dig in, while I turned to toss measuring cups, spoons, spatulas, and 127 other items into the sink and came back to a very… silent… kitchen table.

Uh oh.

I looked from one set of eyes to the next and asked- well…did THIS one come out ok?

Silence. Eyes averting.

One daughter said she preferred cottage cheese to ricotta but it still came out…..(quietly) “ok.”

Daughter #2 simply took one bite and walked away, mumbling something, then pulled out a (I kid you not) Stouffer’s Fettuccini from the freezer. Granted, this is my special needs kiddo and she rarely sits through a meal, anyway. So who knows what she was really thinking. Wait. I think I know.

The rest nodded kindly, knowing how SENSITIVE I am about how well or unwell my food is received.

I took a bite, finally, and my tongue, jaws and taste buds screamed out: DRY RUBBER. I thought about Daytona Beach briefly, but then came to the realization that I was reminiscing…and not in a good way…back to those days of trying to please my kids with my cooking. As I thought about it more, I remembered the term that Dr. Bill Dodson coined:  Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, which basically means that those of us with ADHD often experience extreme feelings of emotional pain and sensitivity when we perceive being rejected or thinking we’ve fallen short. Mind you, the key word is “perceived.”

No one criticized my meal, which by the way, took three hours to prepare (no joke). My friends, you have ADHD; you know what I’m talking about.

So I decided that what I have is Food Rejection Dysphoria. (Dysphoria: noun a state of feeling very unhappy, uneasy, or dissatisfied- Merriam Webster).

Those many years of making meals that ½ of my family rejected, had taken a toll on me. Even though it was nearly 20 years ago.

In all these years of working with women with ADHD, I found I wasn’t alone (I wasn’t diagnosed until my kids were older at which point, they’d learned to find their way around the kitchen themselves if they wanted a meal they enjoyed). Many women with ADHD struggle in the kitchen just like I do.

What is the point of all this? Past hurts can return with a vengeance. In my case, I thought I’d had this ADD “thing” figured out, but at times, like last week, those personal PERCEIVED failures can come out and bite me. And generally, it happens at times like this- holidays, special occasions or times when I want to shine, not falter.

How about you? What triggers a drop in your self-esteem? What do you do to pull yourself out of that hole? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

And while we’re at it, does anyone have a good recipe for spinach lasagna?

 

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